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The answer to this riddle is a single English word.

Beloved of the moderates
A sometime worker hesitates.
With many keys I am used well
Or waters fiery weapons quell.
An agent joined in retrograde.
Lose me, and you may be dismayed.

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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I got it! It's drumroll... "a single English word."! $\endgroup$ – You May 7 '16 at 16:27
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Temper

Beloved of the moderates

Temper, meaning to neutralize, or moderate

A sometime worker hesitates.

a TEMP + ER...

With many keys I am used well

Refers to the use of well-temperament, a method of tuning or playing instruments where all the keys are evenly spaced, as opposed to the older method of tuning where notes were slightly different when played in different keys.

Or waters fiery weapons quell.

I think this is referring to tempering a sword.

An agent joined in retrograde.

agent = REP + joined = MET reversed (in retrograde)

Lose me, and you may be dismayed.

Losing one's temper.

And the title:

Refers to keeping one's temper.

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  • $\begingroup$ Brilliant! If this isn't the right answer, it should be! $\endgroup$ – Deepak May 8 '16 at 5:53
  • $\begingroup$ Well done! Correct on every part. $\endgroup$ – Hugh Meyers May 8 '16 at 6:24
  • $\begingroup$ @HughMeyers Very enjoyable puzzle :) $\endgroup$ – paste May 8 '16 at 12:37
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Could it be

Missile

Reasons:

  • Beloved of the moderates / A sometime worker hesitates.

    You don't want to get totally involved into a war, nor not have any part in it, so you just shoot missiles.

  • With many keys I am used well

    ICBMs use plenty of missile keys to launch

  • Or waters fiery weapons quell.

Missiles superseded the big fire-spewing guns in navies.

  • An agent joined in retrograde.

I don't know. Maybe the self-destruct missile and Soviet Agent in Hunt for Red October

  • Lose me, and you may be dismayed.

Umm, a missile may have many classified systems, so it would be very bad to loose one.

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